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Is a pap smear or HPV test recommended for women?


Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

Women's Health
89 Answers
5,171 Helpful Votes

Your age may be one of the more important determinants in whether HPV testing is recommended. Among younger women, infections with HPV are very common. Often a younger woman’s immune system is able to fight off an HPV infection. Thus some type of Pap smear may be the best choice for screening. By contrast, if a women in her 30s or older has a positive test for high risk HPV it might be assumed that she has a more worrisome, persisting infection.

  • 90% of cervical cancers occur in unscreened or under-screened women (DeMay, 2000). So you do need to get screenings, but the type and interval of screening is going to depend upon your age, and probably high risk HPV screening tests.
  • Liquid based Paps do reduce the number of “false negative” results in the majority of women. Ask your GYN if your Pap will be a liquid type, and if it will be reviewed by automated, and human, screeners.
  • If you have one of the high risk HPV subtypes by DNA testing, request a copy of the results for your files so you will know which subtype you have.
  • Even if you have received a HPV vaccination you should will still need a Pap smear. The recommended interval is still under discussion.

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